HealthIM awarded share of $500,000 in funding to advance community mental health services

HealthIM, a company that connects police and community health services to improve mental health, has been awarded a significant share of a $500,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The company received the grant as part of $5.4 million in funding that is being distributed to 15 projects from the new Health Technologies Fund, in support of developing innovative health technologies across the province.

Co-founders Daniel MacKenzie and Daniel Pearson Hirdes started the company in 2012, while they were students at the University of Waterloo. After winning $25,000 at the Fall 2015 Velocity Fund Finals, HealthIM moved into the Velocity Garage startup incubator to continue to develop and pilot software that helps police services better plan for mental health crises in their community. Their software can be accessed on police cruiser consoles, providing a secure mental health reporting system to standardize communication between officers and health practitioners, and assist decision-making in the field.

“We are not just asking police officers to be law enforcement, we are also asking them to be front line nurses and staff, which requires a whole new set of skills and tools.” – Daniel Pearson Hirdes, Co-founder, HealthIM

HealthIM helps police services, primary care givers, and community support workers share information to prevent inappropriate hospitalization and deliver the right care for an individual in crisis. Since launch, HealthIM has worked with the Brantford Police, Niagara Regional Police Service, and London Police Service on a full-service rollout. HealthIM will use this funding to continue to scale up mental health support services in the Brantford community as part of a Health Innovation Team, working with St. Leonard’s Community Services, Brantford Police Service, Nipissing University, and Brantford General Hospital. The $500,000 grant will fund the entire community mental health project.